Looking at a blank screen is no fun for anyone, but we've all been there. Sitting in front of your blogging software wondering what to write about, you ask yourself questions like:
What would be interesting?
Sometimes, the topics you'd like to write about aren't necessarily the best topics to tackle and conversely, the topics that are best might be boring.
To top it all off, there are helpful articles that provide tips on how to come up with ideas. They suggest considering the questions that you are asked the most and answering them via your blog. Other ideas are to debunk myths about your industry or area of expertise or write a blog post series sharing several steps that lead your readers to a desired outcome.
But what happens when you've done all those things? Many people have been blogging for years, what do you do when you feel like you're, as one of my clients so eloquently phrased it, "burned out and sick to death of blogging"?
Here are five ideas -- including some for you right-brainers out there -- to liven things up and renew your commitment to building your thought leadership online.
Stop writing. Yep, that's right; stop writing. Sometimes we get locked into doing things one way whether it has to be that way or not. We forget that we have options and that the people reading our content may learn in different ways. Some people learn by reading, others learn by listening and still others learn by watching. Why not have something for everyone? It's OK to mix it up. Why do you have to write your blog posts? Why can't you record a quick audio instead? Or pump out a few video blog posts? These are all very valid options, no matter how high-brow your audience is, that you can use to engage your readers. An added bonus of having a multi-media blog is that people are able to experience you in a more profound way than text could ever deliver.
Piggyback. When you get away from feeling that you have to keep your blog updated and instead look at it as a fun way to connect with your market, you'll start noticing content for blog posts just about everywhere. No where in the fictitious Blogger's Rulebook does it say that you have to come up with the topic for your blog posts -- your content needs to be original, not the topic; two totally different things. Why not visit a website like addictomatic.com, see what the top trend topics are and determine how they relate to your subject area of expertise? If you own a bakery, make a game out of how to connect Lady Gaga to cupcakes. You might have to think creatively about this -- but it can be done and you'd be surprised what you come up with.
Dare to be bare. No, not in that way. Reveal something about yourself that most people may not know and link it back to the services that you provide. One of the most popular posts I've ever written was called "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Social Media Galaxy"; it was about being a very private, introverted social media consultant who, by virtue of the work I do, has to use social media. Irony can offer great connection points.
Focus on your kitchen. Or your bathroom, living room or deck -- anywhere else besides the office -- and see how the items in that room relate to your area of expertise. This is a process called "business topology," otherwise known as horizontal thinking taught to me by my mentor and it's a very useful skill. How does an oven relate to what you do? What about a microwave? Or a blender? Again, it's all about thinking creatively. Use word associations to build bridges if you have to. Once you release the notion of this exercise being ridiculous, you'll be stunned at the connections you make... and so will your readers. In fact, they'll love you for it.
Interview your clients. Yes, this gives you a way to indirectly toot your own horn, but it also gives your clients visibility in way you can almost bet is different from other companies or experts they've worked with. And, it gives the people reading your blog -- potential clients -- a peek into possible solutions (that your company can provide) for their business needs. Ask three simple questions: What were you doing before working with us, what was it like to work with us and what have your results been?
When it comes to creating content for your blog -- or anywhere else for that matter -- it doesn't have to be feast or famine. Remember, it's your blog and you run the show. Feel free to be creative, innovative and mix up the medium of delivery to breathe fresh life into your blog.
Follow Lena L. West on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LenaWest